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Kabila To Mediate In The Zimbabwe Crisis

Kinshasa, October 23, 2009 - Visiting Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai announced here on Thursday that President Joseph Kabila of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will visit Harare in the coming days to
mediate the crisis bedeviling the Zimbabwean government.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Tsvangirai, president of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), made the announcement at the end of a meeting
with President Kabila, who holds the current presidency of the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC).

He said this decision was in conformity with his wish to see the
implementation of the political power sharing accord in Zimbabwe between
ZANU-PF led by President Robert Mugabe and the opposition represented by the

"We are here to reaffirm the willingness of the MDC to maintain
cohesion and unity within the Zimbabwean government," he said, adding that
"President Kabila has committed himself to come and share with us the rich
experience of DRC in matters of political transition."

Tsvangirai recently announced a partial withdrawal from the coalition
government in protest of a court order to jail the MDC's senior official,
Roy Bennett, on charges of illegally possessing arms for terrorist

But Tsvangirai also said his party would only disengage from the
cabinet, while continuing to attend cabinet meetings to prevent the Zanu-PF
party from passing unsound policies.

The inclusive government was formed in February. The coalition has
since led to the improved market of basic commodities and renewed confidence
in the country's economic performance.

Tsvangirai's announcement of partial withdrawal from the coalition is
seen by some citizens as ominous. They fear that it could swing the country
towards economic decay once again.

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Tsvangirai flies to Angola to meet dos Santos

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 October 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Luanda, Angola on Friday for a
meeting with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos about the latest crisis to
rock the unity government.
Tsvangirai left Harare on Monday and has met various key leaders in the SADC
region. He was in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Thursday
for talks with President Joseph Kabila.
Tsvangirai told journalists after his meeting that Kabila, as chairman of
the SADC bloc, will visit Harare in the coming days to mediate the current
'We are here to reaffirm the willingness of the MDC to maintain cohesion and
unity within the Zimbabwean government. President Kabila has committed
himself to come and share with us the rich experience of the DRC in matters
of political transition,' Tsvangirai said.
But the DRC President is a close ally of Robert Mugabe and analysts express
serious doubt that anything substantive can be achieved with his help.
In Luanda the Prime Minister was met by his Angolan counterpart, Paulo
Kassoma, Foreign Affairs Minister Assuncao dos Anjos and staff from the
Zimbabwe embassy. An MDC source told us Tsvangirai's trip has so far yielded
good results in that all leaders had voiced concern over the situation
prevailing in Zimbabwe, after the MDC disengaged from ZANU PF.

After Angola, Tsvangirai is expected to visit President Ian Khama of
Botswana. Khama, one of the few critics of Mugabe in the region, last week
said if the unity government in Zimbabwe collapsed Botswana would not
recognise a Zanu PF only government or 'certainly not one headed by
President Robert Mugabe because he certainly did not win the presidential
election last year.'
In Mozambique, President Armando Guebuza promised that he would send a
Troika team to assess the situation. But Guebuza is another of the leaders
in the region who enjoys very close links Mugabe.
A week ago, Tsvangirai announced a partial withdrawal from the coalition
government in protest of more harassment of their Agriculture Minister
designate Roy Bennett. A new court order sent him back to jail again on
charges of possessing arms for terrorist activities. Bennett denies all the
charges and it's generally understood that this is ongoing political
The shaky inclusive government was formed in February. Although the
coalition has led to some improved availability of basic commodities and
renewed confidence in the economic performance, not the same can be said
about democratic reforms.
In the past few months Tsvangirai has failed to get SADC to discuss his
troubled coalition with Mugabe, despite the fact that they are the
guarantors of the political agreement.

Tsvangirai vigorously campaigned for Zimbabwe to be placed high on the
agenda of the last two SADC summits, arguing that Mugabe was reneging on
almost all the commitments he made before the formation of the inclusive
government in February. But SADC has generally ignored Tsvangirai and stood
firmly by Robert Mugabe.

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MDC leadership meets civil society

Written by MDC Media Release
Friday, 23 October 2009 14:08
The MDC leadership today met with civic society representatives to
brief them on the party's decision to disengage with Zanu PF at the party's
headquarters, Harvest House in Harare.

Last week President Morgan Tsvangirai announced the party's decision
to disengage with Zanu PF as an attempt to ensure the irreversibility and
consolidation of the gains achieved by the inclusive government.
Addressing the meeting, MDC Secretary-General, Hon. Tendai Biti, said
the decision to disengage had been made after the MDC had realised that the
transitional government had been arrested and there was no movement in
resolving outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
"We are disengaging from forums that we interact with Zanu PF at the
executive arm of government, which is the Cabinet and Council of Ministers,"
said Hon. Biti.
He added that the MDC felt insulted by the way the party's
Treasurer-General and deputy Agriculture minister designate, Senator Roy
Bennett had been treated by the State following his arrest on trumped-up
charges, the none appointment of MDC provincial governors, the unilateral
appointments by President Robert Mugabe of the Attorney General, the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, the alteration of Ministerial mandates and the
resurgence of violence in most areas across the country, among other issues.
He said other toxic issues included the continued persecution of MDC
MPs and other party functionaries, the disregard of the rule of law, the
slow pace of Constitutional, media and the security sector reforms.
"The National Security Council only met once and it was just
introductions, they have not properly met as is mandated by the GPA," said
Hon Biti.
Hon Biti also said hate speech in the public media, farm invasions,
the militarisation of the country side and the lack of respect for the MDC
as an equal partner had poisoned the political relationship with Zanu PF.
However, Hon. Biti said the party was still carrying out consultations
with the people of Zimbabwe which will end on 31 October 2009.
MDC Acting President, Hon Thokozani Khupe also attended the meeting
and appealed to the civic society to continue playing a critical role in
publicizing the shortcomings of the GPA and proffering possible solutions.
"We appeal to you as our partners to continue with the international
and regional advocacy on the plight of the people of Zimbabwe and explain to
them about our move to disengage with Zanu PF" said Hon Khupe.
The meeting was also attended by the MDC deputy secretary-general,
Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada and MDC spokesperson, Hon. Nelson Chamisa.
Meanwhile, President Morgan Tsvangirai, who is on a diplomatic
offensive in the region, has since met with Mozambique President and
chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Armando
Guebuza, South African President, Jacob Zuma and the Democratic Republic of
Congo President and SADC chairperson Joseph Kabila.
The SADC Troika meeting is expected to meet on 29 of October 2009 to
discuss Zimbabwe's crisis.
Some of the highlights and talking points of the party's justification
of a political master-stroke decision by the national executive are as
Why we formed the inclusive government
1. To deliver real change by providing hope, freedom, dignity,
security and prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe, through-

I.       Initiating and achieving democratic reforms

II.      Achieving economic stability and reconstruction

III.      Constitution reform process and legislative reform to
prepare for free and fair elections in two years

IV.      Improving social service delivery and causing positive
difference n matters of governance

V.       National healing and reconciliation

We are disengaging from forums that we interact with Zanu PF at the
executive arm of government, that is,

1. Cabinet,
2. Council of Ministers

Reasons for disengaging
Outstanding issues in the GPA-

i.             Provincial Governors

ii.            Attorney General and Reserve Bank Governor

iii.          Altering of Ministerial mandates and swearing-in of
Deputy Minister of    Agriculture

iv.        Resurgence of violence, e.g. in Chiweshe, Makoni
South, Bindura

v.           Persecution through prosecution of MDC MPs and
other party functionaries

vi.        Breakdown of Rule of law

vii.      Inertia in Constitutional reform

viii.   Inertia in media reforms

ix.        Security sector reform, e.g. National Security
Council which has only met once for introductions

Defining executive authority

i.      Issues of Chairing Cabinet

ii.      Senior appointments

Toxic Issues-

i.      Hate speech in the public media

ii.      Farm invasions

iii.       The militarization of the countryside

iv.      Lack of respect for the MDC as an equal partner

v.      Lack of paradigm metamorphosis on the part of Zanu PF to
acknowledge that the game in town has changed-i.e. Zanu PF grab-all and
take-all mentality

vi.      Politically engineered specification of companies

Why disengagement as an option?

1.     We are the government by virtue of the peoples' mandate placed
on the party on the 29th of March. In fact, we cannot pull out of ourselves
as government. we can not leave government to a second best political party-
Zanu PF

2.     We have an on-going process of consultation therefore it will
be premature to make a fundamental decision outside the confines and
dictates of the ongoing people's forums

3.     We have SADC and the AU as guarantors to the GPA. Out of
courtesy, the guarantors need to be informed of the current government
gridlock before making any earth-shaking decision.

4.The present government is an inclusive government. There is a
government paralysis in the absence of any one of the signatories to the


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A Zim magistrate bows out of minister's case

Eyewitness News | 5 Hours Ago

A magistrate in Zimbabwe who ordered the arrest of a top aide of President
Robert Mugabe has announced he is bowing out of the case, after he was
apparently intimidated.

The independence of the country's judiciary has been under the spotlight for
some time now.

Didymus Mutasa, who is the minister of state for Presidential Affairs, had
failed to turn up to testify in a land case two weeks ago when Magistrate
Ngoni Nduna ordered his arrest.

Few were surprised when police did not arrest Mutasa but then the minister
lodged a high court case against the magistrate.

Nduna now says he is no longer going to handle the matter saying he has been
visited by a CIO officer who wanted the records.

The minister also publicly criticised the magistrate, calling him "very

The magistrate says he finds himself now unable to deal with the case.

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Zimbabwe faces power cuts as plant goes on repairs

Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:52pm GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's power supply will be cut by up to 250
megawatts over the next two weeks as a major generation plant undergoes
maintenance, the country's power utility said on Friday.

The 250 MW cut -- a quarter of current output -- is likely to hit industries
and mines battling to recover from years of

economic mismanagement.

ZESA said its power generation subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)
would on Friday begin a routine annual maintenance at the 750 MW Kariba
hydro plant that would end after the first week of November.

"The initial phase will result in the loss of 125 MW ... and the national
grid will experience a further loss of another 125 MW on October 31," ZESA
said in a statement. "The exercise will witness an increase in load

ZESA said it hoped to ease the power shortages by increasing imports and
boosting generation from its Hwange thermal station from the current 300 MW
to about 480 MW.

"In the meantime, ZESA will alleviate the situation through increased
generation at Hwange Power Station, which is producing about 300 MW but
whose capacity can be boosted to 480 MW," it said.

Zimbabwe currently generates about 1,000 MW, about half its requirements,
and has struggled to pay for imports mainly from the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and Mozambique.

The southern African country has endured frequent power cuts as the power
utility, weighed down by lack of funding and ageing equipment, has failed to
meet demand.

The impending power cuts come as the latest blow for industry, which has
been jolted by a fallout between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, partners in a power-sharing government set up in

Tsvangirai and his MDC party announced a boycott of the unity government
last Friday, accusing Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party of refusing to fulfil
their political agreement and failure to institute reforms.

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Fresh violence rocks Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 October 2009

Fresh violence erupted in Chiweshe district this week as 50 homes belonging
to known MDC supporters were burnt down by ZANU PF militias.

Expressing concern over the situation the MDC MP for Mazowe central,
Shepherd Mushonga, told SW Radio Africa that their supporters and activists
were being driven out by the militias, led by a well known district
coordinating committee chairman named as Gatsi.

The MP said over 80 teachers had also fled the violence that erupted soon
after the MDC announced it was disengaging from ZANU PF a week ago. Chiweshe
lies about 60km north of Harare and is traditionally known as a ZANU PF

'The situation is grave. Our supporters are being driven out by ZANU PF
militias. Through a well-timed brutal assault unleashed over the weekend,
many MDC activists have fled their homes and have taken refuge in
neighbouring areas. These militias again remind us that they will stop at
nothing to maintain their empires of doom,' Mushonga said.

The violent offensive against known MDC sympathizers has also seen militias
publicly and coldly beat up teachers and headmasters and chasing them away
from their schools.

Mushonga, whose constituency borders the affected areas in Chiweshe, said
teachers and headmasters had fled mostly from Chaona primary school and
Dzingamvura primary and secondary schools.

'We are talking of three schools with an intake of close to 1000 students
each and a staff compliment of 30 teachers each. They are being told that
their principal (Tsvangirai) has disengaged from ZANU PF and that they too
(teachers) should also disengage from the schools,' Mushonga said.

Mushonga, a lawyer by profession, said he was worried the absence of
teachers would affect students who are due to write their final examinations
beginning Monday next week. He has also raised the issue with the ZANU MP
for the area, Retired Major Cairo Mhandu.

'Mhandu cannot control the situation and it's now free for all as he's
powerless. The militias now operate with impunity, arrogance and blatant
violence,' added Mushonga.

The people of Chiweshe are being punished for voting for the MDC during last
year's harmonized elections, especially those from Chaona village. It has
been a flashpoint between MDC activists and ZANU PF militias since then.

Chaona has witnessed some of the bloodiest scenes of political violence in
Zimbabwe in the last decade. On the evening of May 5th, 2008, three days
after Mugabe's government finally released the official results of the March
29 election, 200 men from the ZANU PF militias rampaged through the village.

By daybreak ten people lay dead and the injured bore the hallmarks of a new
kind of political violence. Mushonga said women were stripped and beaten so
viciously that whole sections of flesh fell away from their buttocks.

Apart from forcing people to drink paraquat, a deadly herbicide, the militia
and soldiers inflicted serious injuries by dipping their knobkerries and
sticks into the chemical, before beating their victims. This caused the
serious wounds not to heal and many of those beaten died months later, in

Those who recovered had to lie facedown in hospital beds for many weeks, and
sometimes months. The militias also used genital mutilation in their
attacks. The official postmortem report on the Chaona MDC activist Aleck
Chiriseri, listed crushed genitals among the causes of death. Many other men
died the same way.

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Nestlé under pressure to renew commercial ties with Mugabes

By Alex Bell
23 October 2009

International food giant Nestlé has this week come under growing pressure
from groups loyal to Robert Mugabe and his family, to renew its recently
severed commercial ties with the First Family.

The group ended its commercial link with the Grace Mugabe owned Gushongo
Dairy Estate, a farm which was seized at the height of the land 'reform'
programme, over international condemnation of the relationship. In petty
retaliation, the company's bank accounts in Zimbabwe were frozen, but
although that situation has been rectified, the pressure on Nestlé to
reverse its decision has kept building.

Last week a group of youths tried to force the Zimbabwe branch of Nestlé to
buy more than 20 000 litres milk from Gushongo Estate. It's understood the
group, led by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his ZANU PF politburo
member brother Tongai, tried to force Nestlé staff to offload the milk
tanker that had been transported from Gushongo farm. But after a four hour
stand off, including intense debate and negotiations with Nestlé Zimbabwe
management, the tanker and the ZANU PF youth group were turned away.

A local black empowerment group then lashed out at Nestlé on Wednesday,
saying the international group should be forced to sell its Harare branch to
local blacks if it refuses to renew its relationship with Mrs Mugabe. The
Affirmative Action Group (AAG), whose members are reported to be closely
linked to ZANU PF, on Wednesday said Nestlé's refusal to buy milk from
Gushungo farm was part of a 'foreign regime change agenda'. The group added
that the international firm should not be allowed to continue 'embarrassing'
the President's family.

Independent economist John Robertson explained to SW Radio Africa on Friday
that the pressure on Nestlé by Mugabe loyalists "was to be expected," adding
the threats won't affect Nestlé's decision.

"The pressure has come without any official power or authority to follow
through on the threats," Robertson said. "They don't have the power to sway
a big corporation like Nestlé."
Robertson at the same time dismissed the comments by the AAG, saying "the
people or individuals needed are just not there to take over this company."
He agreed the 'milk-saga' has been incredibly embarrassing for Nestlé, but
said it will now work to protect its international reputation first.

"Nestlé would rather remove themselves from Zimbabwe altogether than cave to
this pressure," Robertson said.

The move to sever ties with Mrs Mugabe came after Nestlé faced intense
pressure from human rights groups and concerned individuals, amid
revelations that the Swiss company was buying up to a million litres of milk
a year from the Gushongo Dairy Estate. This was despite the fact that the
dairy farm was owned by the First Family, responsible for the destruction of
Zimbabwean agriculture through so called land 'reform'.

Although Switzerland has restrictions against members of the Mugabe regime,
the Swiss government had defended Nestlé Zimbabwe's relationship with Mrs
Mugabe, arguing the regulations they have in place only apply to firms in
Switzerland and not subsidiaries elsewhere in the world. But critics
immediately lashed out at the food group over its disregard for basic
corporate responsibility, saying multinational support of the Mugabes would
ensure their continued corrupt practices.

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Bennett nomination treacherous - Moyo

October 23, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - To swear MDC treasurer-general. Roy Bennett, into Zimbabwe's unity
government would be akin to having a former NAZI infantryman serving as a
deputy Minister of Justice in Israel today, says controversial legislator
Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Moyo, once the Minister of Information and Publicity in President Robert
Mugabe's government, became Zimbabwe's only independent Member of Parliament
until he was recently allowed to re-join Zanu-PF, the party that booted him
out in 2005.

Moyo said the MDC's choice of Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture was
"deeply provocative and treacherous".

"If by dint of fortune the Prime Minister manages to bring pressure to bear
and Bennett is sworn-in, King Mzilikazi, Lobengula along with Mbuya Nehanda
and Sekuru Kaguvi and other fallen heroes of the Chimurenga (Liberation
Struggle) would turn in their graves and inspire surviving comrades of the
revolution and their offspring to set this whole country on fire," the
sabre-rattling Zanu-PF propagandist warned.

"That is not a threat but a generational promise," Moyo said in a
double-spread article published in Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's
newspaper, The Financial Gazette. Gono and Moyo's are erstwhile allies in
the Mnangagwa faction of Zanu-PF. It is not clear whether Moyo was stating
official Zanu-PF policy in the article or just expressing a personal

It is being alleged that Moyo and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa instigated the arrest of Bennett last week Wednesday after he was
indicted for trial in the High Court.

"Given that reclaiming our priceless land from British colonialists who
brutally and illegally stole it from our ancestors was the single most
important driver of our national liberation struggle, the MDC-T's
treacherous nomination of Bennett who served in the Rhodesian Infantry for
the post of deputy Minister of Agriculture is morally quivalent, and
therefore as insulting as, having a former NAZI infantryman serving as a
deputy Minister of Justice in Israel today," Moyo said.

"If Israel would not accept that under any circumstances, including that of
fake reconciliation, why should Zimbabwe accept the monstrosity?

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai must understand a very simple but fundamental
point. It is okay for Bennett to be a member of the MDC-T as an expression
of his freedom of association. It is also okay for the MDC-T to make him its
treasurer-general with a mandate for raising money from former Rhodesians
and white racists across the world. But what is okay ends there." Moyo said.

He proceeded: "It is not okay for the very same Bennett who fought and
massacred our liberation forces to be a minister in the Government of
Zimbabwe 29 years after our hard-worn independence. That is just not

Bennett was bundled into remand prison last week Wednesday after a Mutare
Magistrate indicted him for trial in the High Court.

In response to a motion filed by his attorney, Bennett was released on
October 16 pending the beginning of his trial, which was initially scheduled
to begin on October 19 but has now been postponed to November 9.

Bennett, a coffee farmer whose business was seized during the
government-backed land invasions, was nominated by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai back in February for appointment as deputy Minister of
Agriculture. He has not been sworn-in since then.

His appointment has ostensibly been held up due to the criminal charges
pending against him. The MDC insists the charges are trumped-up. As a result
of Bennett's arrest and a catalogue of other outstanding issues, the MDC has
suspended its participation in Cabinet meetings.

Moyo said, "Bennett's permanent unsuitability to be a member of Zimbabwe's
government in any capacity has nothing to do with his present legal
circumstances in which he has been lawfully indicted by a court of law to
stand trial in the High Court of Zimbabwe after he was lawfully charged with
very serious offences for which he has been on bail since February."

Bennett has actually been on bail since March.

"This man has been waiting for his day in a court of law and he must have
it," Moyo said.

He said Bennett's charges pre-dated the March 29, 2008 harmonised elections.
He described as nonsensical concerns that Bennett had been subjected to
selective prosecution, saying the charges against him were lawful. He said
there was evidence which will be led against Bennett "which is unique to him
and his alleged dastardly actions which cannot be compared to anyone else."

Moyo could be held to be in contempt of court for such comments on a case
currently going through the courts.

In an article that is replete with belligerent and racist rhetoric against
white Zimbabweans, Moyo accuses "Bennett and his ilk of killing Zimbabwean
freedom fighters during the country's bitter liberation struggle that
ushered in independence in 1980.

"Nobody is above the law, and that particularly goes for former Rhodesians
who brutally massacred our freedom fighters and the innocent peasants who
supported them or Zimbabwean children who were in refugee camps in
Mozambique and Zambia. The culprits must be brought to book and they will
never ever be allowed to now masquerade as latter day champions of human
rights. Never."

Legal experts have voiced concerns that Bennett is being subjected to
malicious prosecution.

Ironically, Wilfred Mhanda, then known as Dzinashe Machingura,  a former
senior Zanla commander in Tanzania during the war of liberation has
described Moyo as the only cadre to successfully escape from a training camp
in the 1970s.

Many years after independence Moyo was accused of fleeing from Kenya where
he was accused of embezzling project funds from the Ford Foundation in
Nairobi. This and similar allegations of embezzlement of project funds from
Witwatersrand University in South Africa set the stage for the
transformation of Moyo from relentless Mugabe critic to dedicated Zanu-PF
propagandist and avowed enemy of Zimbabwe's independent press.

Moyo's credibility plummetted after he caused the closure of four
newspapers, including the popular Daily News, in 2003.

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Activists slam unscrupulous NGO's exploiting Zim refugees in SA

By Lance Guma
23 October 2009

Several activists and MDC officials in South Africa have slammed an NGO that
allegedly manipulated the plight of Zimbabwean refugees there to raise funds
for a repatriation programme. MDC SA Chairman Austin Moyo told Newsreel on
Friday that hundreds of Zimbabwean refugees at the Central Methodist Church
in Johannesburg were duped into going back home, on the back of a promise of
R7000, computers, printers and scanners, to start internet café's back home.

Recently two buses packed with the refugees made the long journey back to
Zimbabwe. On arrival back home none of the promises were delivered, instead
the refugees were given R200 to use as bus fare to travel to their
respective villages. Within a few days most of the refugees were back in
South Africa at the Central Methodist Church, which has become home for
thousands over the years. Some reports said the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for
Migration may have helped fund the repatriation programme.

UNHCR and IOM officials are yet to comment on the matter but sources say the
equipment for the refugees was bought some time back, but for some reason
has not made its way to the intended beneficiaries.

Newsreel sought comment from Elliot Moyo, whose organization raised the
funds for the repatriation. He told us he was in a meeting and could only
speak to us after our Friday broadcast. Moyo however promised us a response
by Monday. MDC SA spokesman Sibanengi Dube told us it was a very common
problem to have NGO's raising money, using the plight of Zimbabwean refugees
in South Africa, and later diverting the money for their own use. He said
they were investigating the latest case to see where the money and computers
went to.

The Zimbabwean crisis has seen the mushrooming of hundreds of NGO's in and
outside the country. Although some are genuinely involved in helping the
situation, several unscrupulous individuals have also created room for
themselves to divert money from donors meant to help people in need.

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In Zimbabwe, Controversy Still Accompanies Land Re-Distribution

23 October 2009

Zimbabwe farm
Zimbabwe farm
Almost 10 years ago, Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial land reform program that the government said was aimed at distributing fertile farmland owned by a few thousand white farmers to thousands of impoverished black Zimbabweans. The government said the land had been taken illegally from black Zimbabweans during the colonial era and it was righting a historic wrong. But white farmers say they purchased the land and own legal title under a system set up by colonial Britain 100 years ago and accepted by Zimbabwe's government at independence in 1980. The program continues and is still marked by controversy. Critics blame it for the country's economic decline. But Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU PF party say western sanctions are to blame.

Evening is falling at Spring Farm in Karoi, about 200 kilometers north of Harare. Owner Temba Mliswa is bringing his herds in for the night.

He received 800 hectares seven years ago under Zimbabwe's land reform program. It nationalized some 4500 commercial farms owned by white farmers and distributed them to thousands of black Zimbabweans.

Temba Mliswa
Temba Mliswa
Mliswa farms tobacco, maize and beans and raises cattle, goats and sheep. "The whole land reform is noble and I think there will always be a debate, when was it supposed to happen, when was it not suppose to happen. For me, I am a product of the land reform. I've done well. I've done more than the white farmers used to do," he said.

Mliswa took over the farm after the previous owner, Alan Parsons, was beaten and driven away by a gang. Mliswa also took ownership of the buildings, cattle and other facilities that were not supposed to be part of the redistribution. Parsons, according to several farmers, received no compensation and now lives in Australia.

John Worsick was also driven off his farm. He founded the Justice for Agriculture Trust.

He says President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party launched the land program for political reasons.

John Worsick
John Worsick
"Mugabe knows that he has lost the support he had. The support was traditionally from rural areas," Worsick says, "He knows he has lost that. But he believes emphatically that he can, not win that back, but he can turn it back to him through a terror campaign, intimidation and terror out there, coupled to food, controlling food out there."

Critics say land seizures are largely responsible for the 40 percent drop in economic production in Zimbabwe over the past decade. They contend that very few of the seized farms are commercially productive. And they say a large number of black farm workers left the farms when ownership was transferred, fueling the country's 90 percent unemployment rate.  

Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF leaders, whose families own some of the largest farms, blame the economic decline on western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe because of human rights violations.

Farm seizures intensified this year after Mr. Mugabe entered into a power sharing arrangement with former opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who says the seizures should stop.

The violence linked to them continues.

In Chegutu, north of Harare, the farms of Ben and Laura Freeth and her parents were burnt under mysterious circumstances. "They broke into my parents' house in April on three occasions. There was a break-and-entry charge. They were not arrested. Our workers were assaulted. One guy's head was fractured. The other guy, they broke his feet. No arrests made. And all the crops stolen, all the equipment stolen," Laura said.

Virginia Sibanda
Virginia Sibanda
Virginia Sibanda supervised a sewing cooperative on the farm that made linens and tablecloths. Everything was lost in the blaze. "Right now we are clearing the ashes because we no longer have work to do," she says, "All the materials and finished items were gutted in the blaze."

Many people were disturbed by the violence that accompanied the seizures. But farm-owner Temba Mliswa says it happened because the owners resisted the transfer. "I've never known a revolution that has no blood. And this is something that of course was a revolution and it had blood on both sides," Mliswa says, "You also had blacks being killed in the process, whites being killed in the process."

University of Zimbabwe Professor Eldred Masunungure says support for land reform is widespread because a small minority was seen as controlling most of the good land.

"It's a recipe for social and political disaster and upheaval," Masunungure says, "So in terms of the principle of land reform, that is accepted across the board. But the method, the methodology of doing so is where there is contestation."

Some experts say compensation for farmers who lost their farms should be examined.

In addition, they say land re-distribution has stripped Zimbabwean agriculture of many of its best farmers and that black farmers should be helped to gain the skills they need to operate successful commercial farms.

But without the help of the displaced farmers that will take time.

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Minister Mutasa says MDC behaving like 'little babies'

By Violet Gonda
23 October 2009

Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs said ZANU PF
is not taking any notice of the MDC boycott, and that the MDC are behaving
like 'little babies.' Mutasa, speaking on the Hot Seat programme on Friday
about his party's position on the political deadlock threatening to tear
apart the fragile coalition, said the MDC boycott will not take the party
far or achieve anything.

Last week Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced his party's decision to
disengage from Zanu PF, because they were 'dishonest, unreliable and
unrepentant' and that they will continue with their boycott until there are
fundamental reforms.

 The MDC leadership, led by Secretary General Tendai Biti, met with
representatives of civil society at Harvest House on Friday, to brief them
on the party's decision to disengage from Zanu PF.

Biti said the party was left with no choice because of the resurgence of
violence in areas like Chiweshe, Makoni South and Bindura; inertia in
constitutional and media reforms and in security sector reform, which has
resulted in the National Security Council meeting only once for
introductions; lack of movement in the swearing-in of provincial governors
and the MDC Deputy Minister of Agriculture. Furthermore The MDC said it is
concerned with the persecution, through prosecution, of MDC MPs and other
party functionaries, and the appointment of the Attorney General and Reserve
Bank Governor.

A statement by the MDC said: "Hon Biti said the hate speech in the public
media, farm invasions, the militarisation of the countryside and the lack of
respect for the MDC as an equal partner, had poisoned the political
relationship with Zanu PF."

But Minister Mutasa said the MDC boycott will not achieve anything and as
far as his party was concerned the only important outstanding issue is the
question of the targeted sanctions, not the issue of Roy Bennett's swearing
in. An angry Mutasa also said Robert Mugabe had every right and the power to
appoint the Central Bank Governor Gono and the Attorney General Tomana, and
that as far as Mugabe is concerned this issue is a "finished accompli (sic)
and the President is not going to change his mind."

The ZANU PF Minister said: "They can go on strike like little babies but
Zimbabwe is going to go on without them, and the country is going to go on
without them, as in the past.

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The NUJ’s Zimbabwe project

The NUJ has received funding from the British TUC for a project to help develop stronger relations with its sister union in Zimbabwe.

We are looking at the key challenges facing the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and identifying ways in which the two unions can work together to make a difference.

Building the capacity of the ZUJ as a trade union
One of the key aims of the project is to help our Zimbabwe colleagues to learn from the NUJ’s own experiences in building and organising a union.

With most union members receiving allowances rather than salaries - and with wages so low - the ZUJ can’t currently live on subscription income, relying instead on money from international donors. Part of this project will be looking in to how, as the situation in Zimbabwe improves, the union will be able to become more self-sufficient.

Providing assistance with training
We’re looking at how the NUJ can assist with training for ZUJ members.

Many experienced journalists have moved abroad as a result of the political turmoil in the country. While it is hoped that in the longer term many will return, the ZUJ has identified a significant knowledge gap in relation to professional skills and journalistic ethics.

We’ll be looking at how we can facilitate access to training for ZUJ members on these professional matters, but also on bread and butter trade union issues, to ensure that the union is able to support its members at work.

Developing greater equality within newsrooms and the union’s structures
One of the major challenges identified by the ZUJ is the lack of equality for women, both in the newsroom and the union.

Women report high levels of sexual harassment at work and often find themselves sidelined into softer news areas, not given the same opportunities to report on high profile issues as men.

While the union has already made some steps to try to bring greater equality into its own structures, the ZUJ leadership recognise that there is still much work to do.

The project will put a particular focus on bringing more women into senior positions in the ZUJ and equipping the union to fight discrimination at work.

Establishing resource centres to support ZUJ members
One of the real practical ways in which the project will help is in creating an environment in which ZUJ members can work and learn.

The cost of accessing the internet puts it out of the reach of many journalists, and many are uncomfortable doing their work in public areas such as internet cafes.

We’re helping kit out resource centres in Harare and Bulawayo to give Zimbabwean journalists access to computers and the internet. The union has space in its offices to host the centre and the NUJ has helped by furnishing the room and supplying a number of computers.

This is one of the main areas in which you can help the project.

Standing in solidarity with the ZUJ
As well as offering practical assistance, this project is also a demonstration of solidarity with colleagues who have been working in extremely tough conditions.

A delegation from the NUJ visited Harare in August 2009 to meet with ZUJ leaders and working journalists. Meetings with government ministers and officials were also arranged to demonstrate the international support that is behind Zimbabwe’s journalists and trade unionists.

The ZUJ tell us that simple acts of solidarity such as this are a major boost to the union’s members.

Next steps
The project is already making a difference through information sharing and the setting up of resource centres.

It also allows us to lay the ground work for a longer term project that could result in the union accessing significant funding from the UK Department for International Development to help make a transformative change to the ZUJ.

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Dr Simba Makoni on Behind the Headlines

Former Finance Minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party interim President, Dr Simba Makoni, criticizes the MDC-T for ‘disengaging’ from the coalition government. In this interview with SW Radio Africa’s Lance Guma, Dr Makoni argues that the issues over which the MDC-T are disengaging from ZANU PF are issues of ‘jobs for the boys and girls,’ and not policies that will deliver real change for Zimbabweans. Lance challenges Makoni on what he would have done, if it was his party in a coalition with ZANU PF and for over 8 months nothing that had been agreed to, had been implemented?


Interview broadcast 22/10/09


Lance Guma: Hallo Zimbabwe we welcome you to the programme Behind the Headlines. Our special guest today is the interim president of the Mavambo Kusile Dawn Movement and former Finance Minister, Dr Simba Makoni. They recently held a press conference offering their views on the MDC disengagement from the government. Dr Makoni, thank you for joining us on the programme.


Simba Makoni: Thank you very much, it’s my pleasure.


Guma: Right.. now your press conference touched on the MDC disengagement, for the benefit of our listeners could you maybe summarise your position, how did you react to the MDC disengagement?

Makoni: Well first we are perplexed and dismayed by the form of the action; it’s called formally disengagement from Zanu-PF. We’re having difficulties understanding what exactly that means in real terms. They say that they are not leaving the inclusive government, they’re continuing to execute their functions but they are disengaging from Zanu-PF. The one explicit action they have taken is to abstain from Cabinet meetings. One isn’t sure how abstaining from Cabinet meetings is disengaging from Zanu-PF so in essence, the first position is one of misunderstanding, confusion and unclarity about exactly what does this action mean in practical terms.


Guma: But the MDC will say the action they took was designed to get a reaction from the region and there has been some movement towards the troika meeting so they’ll point to that and say this is what it was designed to achieve.


Makoni: Well it was designed to precipitate a crisis and generate a reaction from the region. We think we must first focus on what we can do ourselves. This I think is one of the difficulties with the strategies that say let outsiders solve our problems for us.


Guma: Mmm, but I suppose the problem Dr Makoni is that it has been eight months since this government was formed, there does not seem to be a desire from Zanu-PF to get any of the agreed commitments in place and so a lot of people are saying the MDC is left with little choice.


Makoni: Well quite clearly, the people of Zimbabwe did not expect anything from Zanu-PF. The reason why they voted for change in March 2009 and in other elections before is because they have ceased to have expectation of any positive developments from Zanu-PF and the MDC should have known that and this has been pointed out to them right from the time of the negotiation of the Global Political Agreement. To have expected Zanu-PF to behave differently would have been a gross misunderstanding of Zanu-PF and its nature and character.


Guma: Now in your press statement Dr Makoni, you talked about the fact that the MDC, in your view, are disengaging from Zanu-PF based on issues of jobs for the boys and girls. Can you explain that position?


Makoni: Well basically, Prime Minister Tsvangirai made a statement which said that the fact that Roy Bennett has not been installed as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and provincial governors and ambassadors and other public officers that the MDC expected to have been put in place have not been put in place. That’s why they are disengaging from Zanu-PF because people have not been put in jobs. That’s what we mean by the jobs for the boys and girls. It would have been much better for the people of Zimbabwe to be told by Morgan and the MDC we are disengaging from Zanu-PF because we are not agreeing on policies to solve the country’s problems.


Policies that stop the country declining, the people’s lives being threatened, policies that enable the economy to recover so that people can have better lives than they had before. This is what the people of Zimbabwe voted for and this is what they expected from the MDC component of the inclusive government. The people of Zimbabwe had no expectation of anything out of the Zanu-PF component of the inclusive government because they have lived with it for 28 years until March 29th. And if Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his national executive were saying they are disengaging from Zanu-PF because they had not moved policies, programmes and strategies to change the lives of Zimbabweans, we would be applauding them.


Guma: But a lot of people will say…


Makoni: When we said we will support the inclusive government it was because we wanted the inclusive government to change the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, to move Zimbabweans from drudgery and poverty into welfare and wellbeing and this is not what the MDC are doing in the inclusive government.


Guma: But surely Dr Makoni, as a technocrat yourself, you would appreciate the importance of having the right people in the jobs, in government to carry out their mandate and implement the policies properly?

Makoni: Oh absolutely. I don’t know if I’m a technocrat or not but I am a practical and pragmatic Zimbabwean but I appreciate fully the need for competent people, by the way competence is one of the core values of our party, but I will say to you with more than half of the ministers in the Cabinet of the inclusive government and a handful of deputy ministers and a smaller number of bureaucrats from the
MDC, that’s sufficient competence to have made a mark on the policy formulation front. If we had a list of new policies that have been proposed by the MDC for implementation which had failed because there are no ambassadors and there are no governors and there are no deputy ministers, we would be very understanding and accommodating, even supportive of such a position but unfortunately we don’t have those things.


Guma: But the point remains – why should Mugabe be allowed to get away with making unilateral appointments? I refer here to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, the point remains the Agreement specifically stated that the parties had to consult on senior appointments and that did not happen?


Makoni: Oh precisely, he shouldn’t be allowed and Prime Minister Tsvangirai took Oath of Office in the inclusive government knowing that there were those issues and those are the issues indeed which would form part of the agenda for change but not be the agenda for change itself. That’s where we’re making the distinction.


Guma: Let me give another example. You are a former Finance Minister so you probably appreciate this point even much better, the appointment of Gideon Gono, the MDC have argued that during his tenure as Reserve Bank governor a lot of things have happened including the raiding of corporate foreign currency accounts and that this has damaged the confidence of people who are pouring money into Zimbabwe, so his continued presence at the Reserve Bank is an impediment to government moving forward. Would you not accept such a point?

Makoni: Lance, I considered that there are issues, but remember Gideon raided corporate FCAs before the inclusive government. We drew a line from February 13th when the inclusive government took oath and went into office. We are measuring the performance from there, we are not going back. Indeed impediments should be removed but what we are saying is we would be understanding and sympathetic, supportive even if what the Prime Minister was saying to us was look at what we tried to do from February 13th going forward, this policy we proposed, it was blocked by Robert Mugabe, this policy we suggested it was blocked by Gideon Gono, we would be very understanding and sympathetic of that point of view. But again I repeat, we haven’t been presented with that position.


Guma: Let me get what you would have done in similar circumstances. You are in this coalition with Zanu-PF, some of the agreed positions have not been implemented including the swearing in of one of your deputy ministers, what would you do?

Makoni: Well first I wouldn’t have entered into such a terrible Agreement. You know that our first reaction to the GPA was that this was a terrible Agreement, it was unworkable, it was unbalanced and it was going to make life very difficult for Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the
MDC. We said that at the beginning long before they took Oath of Office on 11th and 13th February. So the first point I would have done is not to enter into a terrible Agreement like that and so I would have worked for a better Agreement which would enable me to function effectively and if that had happened I think a lot of the problems we are confronting today would have been obviated.


Guma: Some will say you are underestimating the kind of creature that the MDC had to deal with. I mean you were looking at a party, which probably as a former member, you yourself will appreciate how stubborn some of the individuals are and how resistant they are to change so some will say why would you not accept the fact that compromises had to be made for the sake of the people?

Makoni: Oh I’m not denying that compromises had to be made. Remember that my whole thrust of campaigning was about accommodation, cooperation and compromise but it’s the kind of compromise and the content of compromise. If it’s compromise for its sake then I think we will be missing the point. Was it compromise that would have enabled effectiveness? As we can see now, this compromise did not make the Prime Minister effective and that is where the first problem lies.


Guma: Someone would say to you Dr Makoni, what’s the point of being in power if you can’t nominate your own people? I mean ideally, it seems pretty clear the MDC are trying in the power matrix to position themselves in such a way that they can effectively deliver the change that everyone is talking about and so would you not be at risk here of belittling genuine complaints that the MDC feel that they have against Zanu-PF?


Makoni: No it would be a misunderstanding of our position. We are not belittling the MDC contribution. What we are saying is that the MDC should have been wiser at the beginning and we are saying that the MDC contribution would have been better and more substantive if it was addressed at policies, strategies, programmes and actions that changed the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, that enabled Zimbabwean farmers to grow food for themselves, that enabled Zimbabwean teachers to teach at school, that enabled Zimbabwean doctors to treat diseases in hospital.


But because the focus is on get Gideon Gono out of office and put Roy Bennett into office that’s why we are saying that the focus is on jobs for the boys. And jobs for the boys do not necessarily deliver change for the people of Zimbabwe. We would like Prime Minister Tsvangirai to succeed, we would like the inclusive government to succeed we said this, but succeed on substance. Not fight over motorcars, not fight over the kind of furniture and TVs in the office of the Minister but fight over policies that change the lives of the people of Zimbabwe.


Guma: Now this dispute Dr Makoni has been taken to the Southern African Development Community, you yourself spent more than a decade at the helm of that organisation, if I might ask you to speculate – what do you think is going to happen from here? Do you think the regional grouping has what it takes to deal with this issue?


Makoni: Well first let me tell you that the SADC that I was involved in was very different from the SADC that we have today so the dynamics in the organisation are quite different. Secondly I think you want to appreciate that SADC’s principal anchoring from January 29th 2009 was that Zimbabweans, we have given you an instrument of management of your national affairs – inclusive government and JOMIC. If anything goes wrong, sort yourselves out through those institutions. We went to the DRC last month and Prime Minister Tsvangirai is now crisscrossing the region. I have no different expectation from the region than you have the institutions through which to solve your own problems, go ahead and solve them yourselves.


Guma: But it’s eight months and nothing has been solved and the regional grouping is one of the guarantors of the Agreement so shouldn’t they do something?

Makoni: Well look, the primary responsibility for solving
Zimbabwe’s problems lies with Zimbabweans and since February 13th it lies principally with the inclusive government. These people came to the country and said we are offering ourselves as a partnership to solve your problems because we believe we are competent to do it. Let them show their competence.


Guma: To end the programme Dr Makoni, I’ll just ask one final question. Your views on pending or impending elections in 2011, in terms of your own political party, how do you see things going?

Makoni: Well first, I don’t know that there’s a timetable for the next elections. The requirements for a free and fair election as stipulated in the Global Political Agreement are not yet in place and they don’t seem to be coming into place. It’s one of the issues over which we have concerns about the performance of the inclusive government, but that said, we are preparing ourselves now as a fully fledged political party, not only to contest the next election whenever it comes but to win the next election and that’s our position.


Guma: That was Dr Simba Makoni joining us on Behind the Headlines.


To listen to the interview Click Here


For feedback e-mail


Lance Guma

SW Radio Africa


Tel:   +44-208-387-1415

Mob: +44-777-855-7615


The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe on Short Wave 4880 Khz.



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Zimbabwe: weekly bulletin #3 - week ending 20 October 2009

Click here to read the third Zimbabwe Weekly Bulletin for the week ending 20 October 2009.
It is three pages long and gives a brief synopsis of the following areas:
The bulletin is accessed from the Zimbabwe Democracy Now website.

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CHRA Meets the Munich Delegation

CNewLog2145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website:

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email,,



23 October 2009

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) conducted a fruitful meeting with His Lordship, the Mayor of Munich City and his delegation yesterday, the 22nd of October 2009. The meeting, which was held at the CHRA Boardroom at 6pm, was also attended by the members of the CHRA Management Committee as well as Secretariat.

The meeting began with the CHRA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Barnabas Mangodza, commenting the city of Munich for their invaluable support and efforts to work with the City of Harare to improve municipal service delivery in Harare. He however emphasized the need to come up with monitoring and evaluation mechanisms so as to ensure transparency and accountability in Council operations. He also reiterated that CHRA is committed to its vision of advocating for quality municipal services as well as being an effective watchdog and vehicle for good and transparent local governance in Harare.

The CHRA Chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo, briefed the delegates on the current state of service delivery in Harare which he said is still in a poor state and implored His Lordship, the Mayor of Munich to work together with CHRA and the City of Harare to ensure that this challenge is addressed. The key issues that were highlighted by Mr. Moyo include;

ˇ    The poor state of service delivery currently prevailing in Harare as a result of several years of mismanagement by the previous illegal commissions. This is evident in the acute shortages of clean water (with at least 70% of the Harare residents living without constant water supplies) due to the dilapidated water infrastructure, potholed roads, unfixed burst sewer pipes and dysfunctional street lights.

ˇ    Poor prioritization of service delivery issues as displayed by the purchase of luxury cars by the City of Harare at the expense of quality municipal service delivery.

ˇ    Heavy interference of the Minister of Local Government in Council operations; a situation that has frustrated Councilors’ efforts to ensure accountability and transparency at Town House e.g. the rescission of Council’s decision to suspend the Town Clerk pending investigations into the corruption charges leveled against him.

ˇ    The need for the City of Harare to ensure the maximum participation of residents in budget formulation processes through wide consultations.

Mr. Moyo also pointed out that the current relationship between CHRA and the City of Harare is cordial but not at its best. CHRA and City of Harare are currently engaging and working together on a number of programmes including capacity building for councilors and civic education. CHRA ward leadership continues to work closely with the Councilors to promote dialogue between the residents and the Council. The councilors are also using the CHRA structures to mobilize the residents for civic education as well as carryout consultations on various matters to do with Council business. However, of late, the relations between CHRA and the City Council have become strained over the failure by the City council to ensure effective residents’ participation in decision making processes. The residents demanded and indeed carried out a massive protest against the Council on October the 5th 2009, demanding participation, transparency, accountability as well as prioritization of service delivery.

The Munich Mayor and his delegation pledged to work with both CHRA and the City of Harare to ensure that the service delivery challenges that are being faced in Harare are addressed. The partnership between CHRA and Munich has seen members of the CHRA leadership visiting Munich for exchange programmes where they shared ideas on local governance issues. The relationship was necessitated by the excessive polarization of the local governance system in Harare resulting from the successive commissions appointed by the Minister of Local Government during the past years. The exchange visits were an eye opener to the CHRA leadership and they positively impacted on CHRA programming and advocacy strategies.

CHRA Information, making the implicit, explicit


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Bill Watch Special of 22nd October 2009 [PublicHearings on Public Finance Management Bill & Audit Office Bill]


[22nd October 2009]

Public Hearings on Public Finance Management Bill and Audit Office Bill

Interested members of the public – individuals and organisations  are welcome to attend.

Written and/or oral submissions are invited.

Bulawayo on Saturday 24th October at 9 am

Small City Hall, Cr Leopold Takawira, Fife St

Harare on Monday 26th October at 10am

Small Caucus Room, Parliament, Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance

The House of Assembly Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Investment Promotion together with the Public Accounts Committee will be holding public hearings on the Public Finance Management Bill and the Audit Office Bill. [Electronic versions of both Bills in pdf format available on request.]

If you are making a written submission it is advisable to take as many copies as possible for circulation at the meeting.  If you are able to take a copy to Parliament before the meeting and give it to the Committee clerk [see below] she will duplicate copies for the members of the Committees.

If you want to make an oral submission signify this to the clerk so she can notify the chairperson to call on you.  An oral submission is more effective if it is followed up in writing.

Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion Committee

Chairperson: Paddy Zhanda ZANU-PF

Godfrey Beremauro ZANU-PF; Webber Chinyadza MDC-T; Eddie Cross MDC-T; Maxwell Dube MDC-M; Fred Kanzama ZANU-PF; Martin Khumalo ZANU-PF; Tapiwa Mashakada MDC-T; Obert Matshalaga ZANU-PF; Shuah Mudiwa MDC-T; Costin Muguti MDC-T; Samson Mukanduri ZANU-PF; Ronald Ndava ZANU-PF; Bednock Nyaude MDC-T; Trevor Saruwaka MDC-T

Public Accounts Committee

Chairperson: Tapiwa Mashakada MDC-T

Members: Kudakwashe Bhasikiti ZANU-PF; Betty Chikava ZANU-PF; Simon Hove MDC-T; Jabulani Mangena ZANU-PF; Biggie Matiza ZANU-PF; Edgar Mbwembwe ZANU-PF; Seiso Moyo MDC-T; Costin Muguti MDC-T; Alexio Musundire MDC-T; Shaddy Sai ZANU-PF; Felix Sibanda MDC-T

For any queries contact Mrs Nyawo – Tel: 04-700181-9,252936-50 extension 2228; fax 04-252935

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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A letter from the diaspora

29th October 2009

Dear Friends.
There are so many things I miss about Zimbabwe but one thing I absolutely
don't miss is the ZTV Evening News - or any other of their news bulletins
for that matter! Reading Cathy Buckle's account of the way Morgan
Tsvangirai's disengagement from the current arrangement with Zanu PF was
reported on ZTV News just served to illustrate how vital it is to have a
free and independent news media if democracy is to thrive. What strikes one,
above all about Cathy's account is the downright racism and vitriol that is
permitted, even encouraged, by way of comment. The so-called political
analyst interviewed on this particular news bulletin remarked that "The
blame is on the Rhodesians. Roy Bennett is a Rhodesian, Morgan Tsvangirai is
having trouble pleasing his white masters." If the tables had been turned
and it had been a white person commenting on a black Prime Minister's
behaviour, the cries of 'Racism' would have been heard around the world. But
in Zanu PF thinking as reflected by the ZTV and ZBC propaganda, racism is a
strictly one-sided affair and applies only to whites discriminating against
black people. "They only did this to please a white man" was the comment
from the Zanu PF spokesman when the news broke of Tsvangirai's disengagement
from the former ruling party. Logic and reason fly out the window and every
issue is reduced to skin colour. The philosophy can be summarised as: All
blacks good, all whites bad; in my book that is racism at its most
pernicious. It requires no intelligence or clear thinking, no logical
analysis; it is simply a knee-jerk reaction based on skin pigmentation and
racial origin.

The issue of race has dominated the news media in the UK too this week and
it is strangely relevant to what is happening in Zimbabwe. All week long the
media here has been awash with articles and debate about whether the far
right-wing BNP- an offshoot of the National Front - led by one Nick Griffin
should be given airtime on the BBC. The British pride themselves on their
tradition of Free Speech and tolerance and, since the BNP now has two
elected MEPs, they are entitled to a public voice, so went the BBC's
argument. All week long the debate has raged about whether the BBC was right
to have Nick Griffin on the popular Question Time, a primetime weekly TV
programme where the public asks questions of a team of invited politicians
from all the major political parties. At issue was the question of whether a
minority party such as the BNP with its far-right racist views should be
allowed the right, implicit in the doctrine of Free Speech, to air their
views. The argument raged back and forth with opponents claiming that the
BBC was simply giving the BNP the opportunity to promote their violent, anti
immigrant and anti-Islamic viewpoint that would lead to more racist attacks
on minority groups. The BBC Television Centre was invaded by hundreds of
anti-fascist demonstrators yesterday with police in riot gear attempting to
control the angry demonstrators. But the BBC stood firm and Question Time
was aired last night before a racially mixed audience who were for the most
part overwhelmingly hostile to Nick Griffin and the BNP.

For Zimbabweans in the diaspora it was an enlightening experience. This was
democracy at work, wasn't it? Here was a public broadcasting service, in the
name of Free Speech, giving airtime to a man whose party denies the
holocaust - though as he cunningly pointed out he has never been prosecuted
for that - and claims that the only people who have a right to live here are
what he calls 'indigenous' British, ie English, Scots or Welsh people.
"Where do you want me to go?" demanded one brown-skinned man. "I was born
here, this is my home. I was educated here and I love this country." The
question sounded very familiar in the Zimbabwean context. Like the white
population of Zimbabwe, born and bred in the country with no roots in
Europe, who are told by War Vets, Green Bombers and Zanu PF fanatics 'Go
back where you came from' the response is the same: Where do you want us to
go?' Rather like the BNP, Zanu PF, regards all 'foreigners' as aliens,
having no rights; only the 'indigenous' people have a right to live in
'their' Zimbabwe.

As we have seen Robert Mugabe do so often when speaking at international
forums, Griffin cleverly toned down his hate speech for the duration of his
public appearance but it fooled no one. An evil racist philosophy remains
what it is, however sweet the sugar coating.
For Zimbabweans, at home and in the diaspora, what we want to hear is the
truth about where we are going as a country. Will there be a place for
ethnic minorities regardless of their colour or is Zimbabwe doomed to become
an apartheid state where colour is the only determinant of one's cultural
and political identity? As Prime Minister Tsvangirai said at his Press
Conference on the 16th October, "We can't continue to pretend that
everything is well." He was speaking in the context of his disengagement
from Zanu PF but his words apply equally to the question of race. It is an
issue which has never been openly dealt with in Zimbabwe. In a democratic
society where Free Speech is the order of the day, the media would be
obliged to debate this question openly, instead of the one-sided racist
diatribes we currently hear on ZBC and ZTV.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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